Van Horn Developing AStar Tail Rotor

 - July 7, 2021, 9:46 AM
Van Horn Aviation's new tail rotor system for the Airbus Helicopters AS350/H125 promises better tail rotor authority and lower noise. Flight testing will start before the fourth quarter, with certification expected in 2022. (Photo: Van Horn Aviation)

Van Horn Aviation (VHA) has completed the first ground run of its new tail rotor system for the Airbus Helicopters AS350/H125, with flight testing set to begin in the coming months and certification anticipated in 2022. The system will be able to be installed without aircraft modification and features individually replaceable composite tail rotor blades and a titanium hub with self-lubricating spherical bearings. The blades use the same NASA-designed laminar airfoil as VHA’s Bell 206 tail rotor blades.

Company engineers expect the new blades to yield greater tail rotor authority and an overall noise decrease versus OEM blades. “We’re excited about bringing the performance improvements that VHA is known for to the venerable AS350,” said VHA CEO James Van Horn. “We expect that our tail rotor blades will provide greater tail rotor authority, plus increased safety during a hydraulics failure.” 

Van Horn Aviation is working with Piranha Aerospace Solutions, a membership-based helicopter parts distributor, to launch the product with its members. “In addition to the expected performance improvements, the VHA tail rotor system design also addresses several maintenance pain points for operators,” said Piranha sales principal John Holland. “The elimination of the underperforming half laminated bearings and the use of individually replaceable blades stands to save our members thousands of dollars in direct maintenance costs while also increasing aircraft availability.”